Photo: Belleville’s Daniil Zharkov, a third-round selection by Edmonton in 2012, is tied for second on the Bulls with 14 goals this season. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Edmonton Oilers boast a number of highly skilled forwards on their front end that are generally touted as pure goal-scorers, and their young roster makes for a team with a high level of energy and emotion. However, they tend to lack depth at their center position and do not always have the size and strength that is needed when they come up against big physical teams. The Oilers scouting team has worked tirelessly to build up a strong group of character prospects to fill some of the gaps on the roster, many of whom are playing for junior clubs across Canada.
Photo: Teemu Hartikainen may not be the most glamorous prospect in the Oilers' system, but the hard-nosed winger is once again skating with the big club in Edmonton. (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
As a team that has taken the number one draft selection in the league for the past three years, the Edmonton Oilers are in a unique position. Their last three number one picks have been an almost sure-bet to enter straight onto the Oilers roster at the beginning of the next season and were expected to make a big splash for a team that desperately needed some new blood, starting with Taylor Hall in 2010-11, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011-12, and Nail Yakupov in 2012-13. This leaves the potential for the remaining draft pool to be a bit sparse, but the Oilers have managed to maintain some depth in their pipeline.
Photo: University of North Dakota forward and Florida Panthers prospect Corban Knight had the hot scoring hand in the NCAA during the month of December (courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
With the first half of the 2012-13 season drawing to a close and the second half getting underway, there were plenty of prospect stories making the rounds in college hockey in December. Hockey’s Future takes a look back at the final month of the 2012 calendar year. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of Dec. 31.
Photo: Kitchener Rangers forward and Edmonton Oilers prospect Tobias Rieder has represented his country of Germany very well at four U-20 WJC events(courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
With their 5-2 win over Latvia, Team Germany accomplished their main goal of avoiding relegation at the 2013 World Junior Championship. The win allows the Germans to compete in the top WJC grouping again next year when the tournament is held in Sweden.
Photo: Edmonton Oilers prospect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has shown no fall-off this season in his offensive output, whether he is playing in the AHL or at the 2013 World Juniors (courtesy of David Maxwell/Getty Images)
In the 2011-12 season, Edmonton Oilers prospect Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was the leading candidate to win the NHL's Rookie of the Year honor until an injury limited his playing time, paving the way for the Colorado Avalanche's Gabriel Landeskog to skate away with the Calder Trophy.